Players First Club Spotlight: Gretna Elite Academy

Q: Why did Gretna Elite Academy apply for Players First licensing?

Mitch Kavanagh, Director of Coaching: We are fully committed to each and every player within our program. Going through an application and highlighting our commitment to our players is important to us. We strive to have the highest of standards and will continue to find ways to improve the environment for everybody in our program. Our program will continue to lead and move forward. 

Q: What does it mean for Gretna Elite Academy to now be an official Players First-licensed club?

Kavanagh: It’s an honor to be a part of the Players-First initiative, joining the list of quality programs. As the only club in Nebraska to have the Players First license, we are very proud to continue to showcase our commitment to club membership by collaborating with like-minded clubs. This, along with other substantial on-going club projects, help us in demonstrating player-first decisions, resulting in a superior environment for our players. 

Q: What makes Players First licensing different from other initiatives or programs your club has participated in?

Kavanagh: It’s very clear that US Club Soccer is invested in this program and are finding ways to create quality services for its members. It is extremely beneficial for our club to be able to branch outside of the Nebraska market to work alongside like-minded clubs across the country. Working together to improve the environment for our players is always our main priority and Players First licensing enables us to do just that. 

Q: What would you like the parents of Gretna Elite Academy to know about what this means to them?

Kavanagh: Our club’s mission is built upon putting our players first. Completing the rigorous application process should highlight our buy-in to Players First. And getting approved allows us to build upon our club’s five core pillars. I want our parents to know that Greta Elite Academy doesn’t want to just say the right things, we will do them. I think this is important in today’s landscape; it is easy to say one thing, but it is another to act on those promises.


A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.

Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

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